Adapting your leadership style to the situation

In a recent article, I talked about certain similarities between teamworking in a business environment and the success or failure of sporting teams. Another parallel to be drawn is that teams are made up of many different types of characters, all with their own unique styles. In both business and sport, the leadership style and […]

How can executive coaching help in changing times?

we’re in changing times and the modern business environment is more complex, diverse and competitive than it has ever been. Thanks largely to technological advances over the past couple of decades, it is also changing at a more rapid rate than anything we have ever seen before. Little wonder that many commentators, from Forbes Magazine […]

Are leadership and management really apples and oranges? – Part Three

When talking about leadership and management, the respondents in O’Leary’s interviews (see my previous two blogs for details) frequently mentioned the positive influences a good leader’s character and behaviours can have on his or her followers. While they also mentioned behaviours when discussing managers, the emphasis was different: good managers bring out results. The interviewees […]

Are leadership and management really apples and oranges? – Part Two

Last time, I concluded with a couple of questions posed by leadership expert John O’Leary: “Are leadership and management fundamentally different roles in practice? Or do they simply require us to focus on different things?” O’Leary, drawing on 34 years of experience in multinational organisations, has begun to question whether there really are substantive differences […]

Are leadership and management really apples and oranges? – Part One

There are clear distinctions between Leadership and Management, aren’t there? We often hear statements like “managers do things right, but leaders do the right thing.” As a Gestalt practitioner, I’m interested in complicating the distinctions between categories like this, especially when they have become deadened by overused assumptions. In Gestalt psychology, the distinctions between what […]

Executive coaching – think horticulture not sport (Part Three)

Organisations are collections of human beings. And the best organisations have leaders capable of facilitating the most effective ways for them to work together collaboratively toward a common goal. Freek Vermeulen, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, cites numerous studies that have sought to determine what characteristics lead, over time, […]

Executive coaching – think horticulture not sport (Part Two)

There are plenty of examples in business history of firms that expanded at phenomenal rates, frequently aided and abetted by acquisitions, becoming the darlings of the stock market, only to crash into the dust shortly afterwards. It’s all too easy to blame such colossal downfalls (just think of Enron or WorldCom) on arrogance, mismanagement or […]

Executive coaching – think horticulture, not sport (Part One)

Why is cultivating a beautiful lawn a more productive metaphor to draw on during executive coaching than sporting analogies? Answer: great business leadership doesn’t lose sight of the long game for the sake of immediate competitive expediencies. Let me borrow an imaginary dialogue proffered by Professors Ingemar Diermickx and Karel Cool, from their classic study […]

How to prevent conversational meltdowns: Part two

In the first part of this series, I described the cooling effects on an overheating conversation of taking responsibility for one’s role in verbal escalations. Here are some other powerful methods of preventing conversational fires to add to your repertoire. Social scientist Joseph Grenny perceptively notes that people lose control when they feel threatened. If […]

Relational coaching: it’s about you in your environment

In an interview on the Ashridge Executive Education blog, the relational coaching expert Professor Ernesto Spinelli describes how relational coaching means understanding that neither the coach nor the coached exists in isolation. According to Professor Spinelli, they are always subject to the relational conditions around them, and their experience of these conditions shapes their attitude, […]